A few of us were able to attend the recent Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2016 in Las Vegas. Here are some of the newest technology trends we saw for consumers this year.
1. VR. Virtual reality has been around for decades with consumer interest having its ups and downs. The execution and technology available was often lacking as well. However, several major electronics companies have been improving the technology the last few years, some releasing development kits to companies like Infuse. 2016 will see the commercial release of a number of VR headsets and as a result, we’ll see an increase in games, apps and virtual experiences for the market as a whole. Infuse has applied this technology to create an immersive environment for end users to experience a unique and engaging perspective in educational simulations. Keep an eye on VR tech from companies like Oculus, Samsung, HTC, Microsoft, Sony, Google and others.
The Oculus line wrapped completely around the booth.
2. Wearables. We’ve seen fitness trackers in public for years, but recently we’ve really seen a spike in smart wearable technology with the release of the Samsung Gear S in late 2014 and the Apple Watch in 2015. While not technically wearables, CES had a number of companies specializing in connected smart devices for automobiles and the home. The “Internet of Things” (IoT) is fully under way and we’ll see more and more electronic devices networked together and controlled by consumers. In healthcare, we’ll see an increase of “connected apps” where users can receive diagnostics and even control their personal medical devices from a smart phone or watch.
Samsung Gear S2 smartwatch
Bryce looking pretty futuristic while testing out a mobile theater headset from Royole.
3. Drones. We saw a few drone booths at CES 2014, but it seemed as if the number of companies selling drones has quadrupled this year. One of the highlights of CES 2016 was a drone from EHang that can carry a person. We’re not sure yet how that would apply to healthcare, but perhaps we may see a drone powered AirMed service someday?
4. Displays. Samsung showed off some of the most gorgeous displays at CES. While I’m still happy with my 1080P display at home, 4K and even 8K displays dominated many of the booths this year. We saw a number of transparent and mirror displays, as well as curved displays from a number of companies. Another cool thing we saw was touch enabled glass with a UI projected onto the surface. We also saw a 3D display where no 3D glasses are required, but it still looked like an emerging technology and not quite there.
5. Tablets. Most large electronic companies are still pushing tablets, with most connecting now to a keyboard, and the performance only gets better each year. I also never thought I would see the day when Apple would release it’s own stylus after Steve Jobs asked in 2007, “Who wants a stylus?” and “We’re born with 10 of them…we’re going to use our fingers.” But as an artist, I’m biased. I think I still have my original 2003 Palm Pilot Tungsten E (with stylus) in a kitchen drawer somewhere.
6. 3D Printers. 3D printers are not new, but we saw some “consumer grade” printers now selling in the $300 range compared to $1000 just 2 years ago. The day is coming when 3d printers will be about the same price as an inkjet, and we may see one in many consumer homes. 3D printers have expanded into metal printing and even food! It will be interesting to see how the industry is regulated, when consumers can simply download say, a car part model and print it out instead of ordering a new part from the original manufacturer.
7. Wireless charging. Nikola Tesla anyone? It’s getting closer and closer to reality.
And last but not least, the line to the “Truck-n-Yaki” food truck was long, but well worth the wait after many hours of walking the halls of CES.